Talkback

How About The Real Issues?

Prime Minister’s press secretary Datuk Seri Tengku Sariffuddin Tengku Ahmad today lambasted The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and Sarawak Report (SR) for what he described as a ‘vindictive campaign’ against Malaysia. He said it was a disgrace that the good name of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong‎ Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah has been dragged into the foreign media’s attacks on Malaysia. ‎

In a statement today, Tengku Sariffuddin said the deceitful reporting on important national events by the WSJ and ‎Sarawak Report showed that they ‎had no respect for the country, its sovereignty or its monarchy. ‎ “For over a month, these publications maliciously reported that the Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Najib Razak) had appointed his supposed “1MDB-linked ally” Tan Sri Irwan Serigar Abdullah to be the new Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia, despite the fact that no decision had been made,” he said.

He said their lie was exposed when Datuk Muhammad Ibrahim was appointed as Governor this week. “To cover up their lie and international embarrassment, the WSJ and SR then reported that this was a “U-turn” by the Prime Minister following pressure. Also, it was fictitiously claimed that His Majesty had previously signed the appointment of Tan Sri Irwan, and was persuaded to change the nomination, and was angry about this matter. Both His Majesty and Tan Sri Irwan have now publicly stated that this is false,” he said.

Our comment

As a matter of fact Sarawak Report did not report at all, let alone “for months” that the 1MDB Board Member, Irwan Serigar, was to be appointed Governor.

[Paul Stadlen, since you wrote the release, how about providing a single example of Sarawak Report having written about WSJ’s scoop before the appointment of the Governor? – you can’t because we didn’t]

We merely busted the silly spin after the planned appointment was changed.

Yet the obsession with this trivial matter continues, as the PM’s desperate spokespeople appear to think this is a point to score.  Today both the PM’s office and 1MDB no less have both jumped up and down on exclaiming shock and horror about the reporting of their changed appointment, embarrassing their non-appointed Treasury Secretary in the process.

No one believes them, because they have yet to tell the truth about anything else related to this entire affair.

But, far more to the point, why has Malaysia still not heard a word from these self-same officials on the crucially important subject of what the Finance Minister plans to do about the impending disaster over the US$6 billion cross default at 1MDB?!

Voice Of Bernama!

The disappointment over the lack of change in the constituency of Ba’kelalan is as widespread as it is palpable.

Perhaps sensing it, incumbent Baru Bian, the Sarawak PKR chief, is appealing to the religious sentiment of the evangelical Christians who make up 90 percent of the 7,375 registered voters.

The 58-year-old lawyer presents himself as “fair, clean and God-fearing” while telling the deeply religious Lun Bawang community of his efforts to settle native customary rights land issues.

But the people do not seem to be impressed. Whatever his good intentions and however hard he has worked, he has not delivered on his promises, according to the locals who yearn for development in their area.

In 2011, the controversy over the seizure of bibles using the word ‘Allah’ helped Bian to beat his 43-year-old nephew Willie Liau of BN by 473 votes.

There is no controversy this time, and Liau, also a lawyer, is driving home the point that you have to be with the government to get things done.

Our comment

So who has authored this piece of ‘objective reporting’?

Ah, the government news agency Bernama!  That makes sense.

The inhabitants of Ba’kelalan can vote for whom they like, whatever the objective news agency writer finds “palpable”.

But, they ought to bear in mind that years of being run directly by BN did them no good at all and that if BN continue to run the state then things will continue as before.

What possible reason could there be to imagine otherwise?

Naked Abuse Of Power By BN Bully Francis Harden

Two teachers have lodged police reports after receiving warning letters from the Education Department not to get involved in helping the opposition to campaign in this election.

One of them told the media that the unfair accusation made by the department was based on a complaint letter that the department received from Assistant Minister for Rural Development and Housing Datuk Francis Harden.

The complaint letter dated Apr 14 bears SUPP letterhead and was signed by Harden.

The letter stated that the two teachers had been involved in assisting the opposition in political activities and called on the department to transfer them elsewhere.

The teacher who produced both letters as evidence said that the complaint letter had tarnished his image and would affect the department’s evaluation on him.

The teacher believed that apart from him, three other teachers were suffering the same fate and had confronted Harden.

He said in the letter, Harden had requested the department to take immediate action and transfer the teacher from the area before polling day on May 7.

Our comment

Is this the self-same Harden whose personal secretary was caught stealing the disability pensions of his constituents?

The worst part of that particular shocking story is that when it was all brought into the open, Harden tried to shut the victim up by paying him back just HALF of the money he was owed!

The question, therefore, is not why are right minded teachers in his constituency supporting the opposition (which is entirely within their democratic rights), but why is Harden showing the brass neck to stand again?

The reason, of course, is that BN plan to bribe, bully and gerrymander another ‘victory’ in the state by using exactly the same tactics that Harden is now employing.

The term is ‘criminal abuse of power’ and it is a very, very, very serious crime, which will eventually come back to haunt all perpetrators of it.

More Silly Spin

The appointment of Muhammad Ibrahim as the new Bank Negara Malaysia governor has once again exposed The Wall Street Journal‘s “lies and total disregard for facts” in its reporting on Malaysia, charged Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s press aide.

“WSJ reported as fact multiple times, including by Ken Brown on April 20 and Tom Wright on March 11, that the prime minister appointed Irwan Serigar Abdullah to be the new governor and that he was linked to 1MDB.

“This was despite no announcement having been made, and based on anonymous sources,” added Tengku Sharifuddin Tengku Ahmad in a media statement.

He pointed out that Putrajaya had today named current deputy governor Muhammad Ibrahim as the new governor to replace Zeti Akthar Aziz, who has retired.

Muhmammad Ibrahim would assume his duties starting May 1.

Our comment

How much immense effort Najib and his PR folk have to put into scoring such trivial points!

There is a reason this appointment was delayed to the 59th minute of the 11th hour in the middle of a major financial crisis, which was that the Agong had signed off the 1MDB Advisory Board member Irwan Serigar Abdullah and was entitled to refuse to change his position.

Once the WSJ had pre-empted the scandalous appointment it took all Najib’s energy to get the nomination changed by a rightly angry Agong – just so he could point-score that the WSJ had been ‘proved wrong’.

Insiders in Putrajaya have been laughing at the matter for weeks and the desperate PM has achieved nothing from the stunt, which like the earlier Saudi minister event, is like tossing pins at a rolling tank of justice that is bearing down upon their heads.

Blame The Opposition For Government Crimes!

A BN direct candidate has given a different twist to the 1MDB scandal – he put the blame squarely on the opposition.

Dudong candidate Tiong Thai King said fiascos such as the 1MDB came about because the opposition had shirked its duty in monitoring the government.

The opposition had neglected its duty, he said in an interview with China Press today.

The opposition has become irrelevant as it was unable to play up its role effectively, Tiong added.

“They (the opposition) have failed to monitor the government and prevent all these things from happening.

“If they have failed in their job, why should we continue to vote for them?” he asked.

As such, Tiong urged the voters to support the Sarawak BN so that it would have a bigger mandate to build the state.

Tiong was formerly with United People’s Party (UPP) but quit the party to stand as BN direct candidate this time.

He was defeated by DAP candidate Yap Hoi Liong by 317 votes in the 2011 state polls, and is facing Yap for the second time in a five-cornered fight.

He was the MP for Lanang from 1996 to 2013, and is also the brother of Ribunan Hijau Group founder and billionaire Tiong Hiew King.

Our comment

Wow! this one takes the biscuit, as the saying goes.

Tiong is the teacher who blames his class, the thug who blames his victim and the thief who blames his target all rolled into one.

BN has for over a year abused their powers relentlessly, in order to persecute anyone who has tried to raise concerns over 1MDB. Indeed this writer has been issued with a warrant for arrest and the Malaysian IGP has been badgering INTERPOL (unsuccessfully) to raise a terrorist alert against her for exposing corruption at the fund.

DAP spokesman Tony Pua, who has striven with all his might to alert BN politicians to this situation, has had his passport illegally removed so that he cannot travel for his pains. Dozens of civil rights campaigners have been slammed with shocking charges of ‘sedition’ and other trumped up crimes, whilst the people themselves have been banned from exercising their right to protest or even Tweet about the problem online.

Meanwhile, Tiong and his cronies have continued their criminal activities in Sarawak, bribing for logging contracts, lying over profits and exporting their dirty business practices to places like Papua New Guinea, where his family firm has caused international outrage over human rights abuses (similar to those they got away with in Sarawak).

Tiong and his cronies have moreover made known their full support for Najib, who is now the one man in Malaysia, who still refuses to admit there is a problem with 1MDB.

Of course, this arch criminal in government therefore blames everybody he has been responsible to for the now public failings over 1MDB. Imagine if he started to take responsibility for any of what he and his family of tycoons have done!

When Did IGP Know He Had The Job?

Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar says there is no conflict of interest with regard to his daughter’s firearms business.

The Inspector-General of Police said his daughter had already started the business before he was appointed the country’s top cop.

“They got their business licence before I became IGP,” he said at a press conference after presenting a lecture at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in Bangi on Monday.

Khalid said that he had also forbidden his daughter from applying for government or police contracts.

“If there had been any tenders given to them through me, Sarawak Report would have reported it by now.

“So I don’t think there is any special treatment or conflict of interest,” he said.

On claims by portal that the conflict interest was in the awarding of gun licences, Khalid said it was he did not wish to jeopardise an investigation by commenting.

“I’m sure there will be an investigation so I do not want to jeopardise it by commenting further,” he said.

Online portal Sarawak Report had reported that Khalid’s second daughter, Juwiza Khalid, 32, was the biggest shareholder in Nilai Arms & Ammunitions (NAA).

It added that Khalid’s brother-in-law Mohd Isa Husin, 59, was also an owner of the business.

Our comment

The Register of Companies shows that Khalid established his company flogging guns through his daughter and brother in law in June 2012.

He became IGP less than a year later, so when did he get the nod on the job?

Even if he had merely suspected he might get this top job, it was clearly not an appropriate business for an already top policeman to be engaged in and once he had been confirmed in the appointment, which gave him sole charge over issuing permits, he should then have instructed his daughter to dispose of the business.

The fact that he claims he had “forbidden” his daughter to apply for police contracts makes it perfectly plain who was in charge of the affair. He seems to feel self-sacrficing in having denied his own company the opportunity to apply for police contracts, but not to see anything wrong with exploiting his position in this less public way.

Without a doubt any police officer in a country of good governance would have stepped down over this.  At least he is accepting there will be an investigation into the affair.  Najib will appoint Apandi to ‘throughly investigate’ and ‘clear’ him

 

The Writing On The Wall

If troubled 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) defaults on its US$1 billion loan from Abu Dhabi’s IPIC, that could trigger cross defaults on the fund’s other debts, including some bonds, according to the fund’s president and group executive director Arul Kanda Kandasamy.

Though 1MDB has declared just four days ago that it is free of all its bank and short-term debts, it still has a RM5 billion sukuk with a government guarantee, another RM2.4 billion Bandar Malaysia sukuk, a RM800 million loan from the Social Security Organisation or Socso in short, and in his words, “the one that everyone is worried about”, a US$3 billion bond the fund issued in 2013 to fund the Tun Razak Exchange development.

In an exclusive interview with The Edge Malaysia, published in the weekly’s cover story for the week of April 25-May 1, a clearly frustrated Arul told the publication…..what could happen next now with IPIC’s declaration of default against 1MDB…

There is one crucial item on the term sheet, which is that 1MDB has to transfer the amount that IPIC paid, the cash plus the interests — US$1.15 billion — by Dec 31, 2015, according to Arul. As such, he said: “actually, we were in default since December”. But he questioned why IPIC waited until now to make the announcement.

“It should have been made immediately after the default as it’s a large amount. Why wait until April to say you don’t own Aabar BVI?”

As to the US$3.5 billion worth of payments that 1MDB made to Aabar BVI (Aabar Investments PJS Ltd), the company with the near identical name to IPIC’s subsidiary Aabar Investments PJS, Arul said: “What we cannot discount is there could actually be fraud…a massive fraud…and maybe there was collaboration from our side”.

He also spoke about wanting to quit 1MDB, and how the issues at the fund was not his and “not what I signed up for”. “I’m very tired. I’m doing over and above what I had signed up to do.”

Our comment

So, after over a year of presiding over the most humungous cover-up of the most humungous scandal, Arul Kanda appears to be planning to depart – on the brink of what he suggests will be a massive cross default by the fund he managed, triggering untold damage to the Malaysian economy.

His remarks to The Edge, boil down to a single admission, which is “OK I acknowledge the game is up – actually we should have paid that US$1.15 billion way back in December!”

Therefore, he reckons, this is the right moment to down tools and walk off.  He is tired, explains Kanda. It didn’t turn out to be the job he thought he had signed up to.

After a year of trenchant denials and counter-accusations, he also accepts there “could have been” a massive, multi-billion dollar fraud after all (but, we note, no apologies to Sarawak Report and others).

What’s more, he even concedes, “maybe there was collaboration” in this fraud from within 1MDB itself…… it really is time for you to run, Shahrol Halmi, the world can see the red dot in the centre of your forehead.

Meanwhile, Arul Kanda plainly thinks that he can simply walk away from his year of lies and deception at 1MDB and leave Malaysia to pick up the financial pieces.

Doubtless he has already negotiated a swanky severance fee with his beleaguered boss, Najib Razak, and is at this very moment packing his Louis Vuittons.

On the other hand, returning to Abu Dhabi may not be the option it once was.

Top Cops Confused Over Right And Wrong!

Anyone in Malaysia has an equal opportunity to run a business as long as it is in accordance and within the boundary of the country’s law and regulations.

This was Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Noor Rashid Ibrahim’s response to a Sarawak Report article yesterday which linked an arms-selling company to Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar.

Noor Rashid was met after he officiated the graduation ceremony of the Inspector cadet basic course series 3/2015 at the Police Training Centre (Pulapol).

The article claimed that Khalid’s second daughter Juwiza Khalid, 32, and his brother-in-law Mohd Isa Husin, 59, are the owners of Nilai Arms & Ammunitions (NAA), with Juwiza being the biggest shareholder.

“What’s more important,” Noor Rashid said, “is that any job or business must be according to the law. Anyone’s children have a right and fair opportunity, and they too must adhere to the law.”

Asked whether police will investigate Sarawak Report on the article, Noor Rashid said police will go over the content of the article before deciding on the next course of action.

Our comment

Terrifyingly, it seems that Malaysia’s most senior cops don’t understand the difference between right and wrong.

In particular, the concepts of ‘abuse of a position of public trust’ and ‘conflict of interest’ appear to be outside of their mental capacity.

The IGP has a trusted role, in that only he can sign off a fire arms permit, which he is paid to do only in the public interest. However, he has set up a company, which stands to profit every time he signs a permit. A ten year old would understand the conflict and abuse of trust involved.

Which is why, one assumes, he has hidden this enterprise under his daughter’s name.  No one seriously believes that the IGP’s 20 something year old daughter invested in a major arms and ammunition business.  If indeed she had, a dutiful policeman Dad would have explained the problem to her in the context of his job (and queried where she had found the money).

Nevertheless, it seems this IGP is content to hide behind his own daughter’s skirts in this affair and threaten to ‘investigate’ Sarawak Report to boot!

So, not a gentleman either, plainly.

Bribes From The Top

The federal government has promised more allocations to develop Sarawak if incumbent Chief Minister Adenan Satem wins big in the coming state election.

“With his good relationship with the federal government, the prime minister and myself as well, I will try my best to help facilitate (more) allocations to build Sarawak.

“This is if he (Adenan) wins big in the state election – more than a two-thirds majority,” said Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Zahid made the promise when he addressed more than 500 people at the meet-the-leader-people session in Balingian, a state seat of Mukah today.

Our comment

The world has started watching Malaysia and this straight bribery from the Federal Government’s deputy leader in favour of the de facto UMNO boss in Sarawak will confirm how bad corruption has become in this country.

Zahid plainly does not realise how shocking and criminal such statements appear to most of the world.

Certainly, he disqualifies himself also in the eyes of Malaysians as a suitable successor to Najib, who only promoted him because he was willing to support his own criminal behaviour.

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Oops! Why Did 'Saudi Royal' Use Eric Tan To Set Up Offshore Company To Pay Najib?

Rather than send money to Aabar, however, the 1MDB fund ended up transferring $3.5 billion to a different company with a name nearly identical to Aabar’s, according to the report by Malaysia’s parliamentary committee.

Some of that money in turn was transferred, via intermediaries, to a shell company called Tanore Finance Corp., registered in the British Virgin Islands, investigators in two countries believe.

The beneficial owner of Tanore when it was first set up was Tan Kim Loong, a young Malaysian business associate of Mr. Low’s, according to people familiar with the matter. Attempts to reach Mr. Tan were unsuccessful.

Global investigators believe it was from Tanore that $681 million was transferred to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib’s accounts at AmBank in March 2013, according to the people familiar with the investigations.

Our comment

The piece of new information in this long article was that the beneficial owner of Tanore Finance Corporation, a company set up by Aabar’s Falcon Bank in October 2012, was Tan Kim Loong, whom a “person familiar with the matter” had informed WSJ was an associate of Jho Low.

Perhaps that person familiar with the matter had assumed that WSJ would themselves be familiar with the fact that they were referring to the Chinese name of none other than the famed ERIC TAN?!

Did WSJ fail to spot the significance of this name?

As SR has pointed out in previous articles, Eric Tan was a key fixer for Jho Low and is currently under investigation by the Singapore authorities.  In particular he organised with suspended Singapore banker Yak Yew Chee for US$20 million dollars to be wired by a Jho Low company Acme Time to PetroSaudi’s Tarek Obaid.

This means that the same fixer, who channelled millions from Jho Low to Tarek Obaid, who was linked to 1MDB through the PetroSaudi deal, was the man who incorporated Tanore Finance Corporation and gave it an account at Aabar’s very own Falcon Bank, which was linked to 1MDB via a different Abu Dhabi deal.

What a mighty bloody coincidence – given that Najib is still swearing that this money had come from a Saudi Royal figure!

Did WSJ miss the full significance of its own scoop? Looks like it!